Serving Northeast Ohio since 1972
Kevin Leary, RPT, Janet Leary
(440)  331-5605


Piano Tuning, Restoration, Rebuilding, & Appraisals


All appraisals/evaluations are performed for a fee, unlike general contracting for house/building repairs where profit margins cover the cost of the appraiser’s time.  The cost of an appraisal/evaluation will depend upon the purpose. It is helpful to narrow your goals before requesting an appraisal. The appraisal price/cost is determined by the time required to deliver the necessary information and documentation.

A simple opinion will rarely satisfy all the details necessary for the best course of action   Common Questions are:

How much is my piano worth?

How much will it cost to fix it?

Should I trade it in?

Is it an antique?

Should I donate it to a church?

Do I need to list it on my insurance policy?


Each piano can only be valued by all of the criteria below and requires a direct examination of the instrument in question  Criteria considered are:

1. Brand: Price /Quality, Approximate new replacement cost, Current market availability

2. Historic relevance of the instrument: Antique, Special case, Exotic veneers, Carvings, Artwork

3. Condition: Age, Wear level, Repair costs Remaining useful life

4. Artistic quality: Desired outcome/result, Demands of the end user, Ability of the instrument to continue functional music making


The piano can be subdivided into three major components:

1. Case - Cabinet finish, hardware, veneer, color and any possible evidence of deterioration of fit and finish.

2. Resonant Structure/top of the piano – includes soundboard, bridges, pinblock, stings, plate(cast iron frame), string terminations/contact points(agraffes and v-bars), duplexes, all attendant glue joints

3. Action – All the moving mechanical components activated and engaged by the player such as Keyboard, hammers, action parts, damper systems, pedals/trap work


Each of the three major components can cost as much as a generic consumer- quality new piano to properly restore to “like-new” condition. For the above components to be priced for complete restoration requires significant research.

Restoration price can also reflect the quality of work that distinguishes the difference between performance and function. Always keep in mind that the bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

New replacement prices of top quality pianos can be high enough to justify restoration costs and can be economically competitive. Lesser quality instruments are more likely to be a restorable if only one or two areas of work are needed.

The truth is that all instruments decay w/ age and use. They are fundamentally modern mechanical devices that require regular maintenance. Seasonal changes cause wood to expand and contract and wood shrinks with age causing glue joints to fail. Flexible materials such as cloth, felt, woven felt, buckskin, leather, springs and wooden levers all will compress, wear and become brittle with age and use. This all can be managed but not reversed.

A good rule of thumb is that used instruments are rarely worth more the 2/3 the replacement cost MINUS the repair/restoration cost to put the instrument in “like new” condition of an instrument of comparable quality. Transaction costs such as moving, commissions, taxes and overhead always create a margin between retail and after-market value.

Should I trade it in?

If you can afford to lose the attendant transaction costs associated with the sale of a used piano (advertising, time used scheduling and meeting potential buyers, moving costs) dealers often will expedite your purchase by taking your piano in on trade. Since they then absorb such costs, that difference will affect your ultimate price.

Is it an antique?

Modern iron framed pianos rarely qualify as “antiques” unless the instrument is of special interest. Is it a unique example of the evolution of pianos, an art case, clad with exotic veneers or inlays? These will affect its value.

Should I donate it to a church?

Donated pianos more commonly are instruments that have become un-repairable or un-marketable for many reasons. For this reason you should not be surprised when a charitable organization or public institution is less than excited at your donation offer. The desired tax advantage is often offset by the cost of the reporting requirements

Do I need to list it on my insurance policy?

Your insurance coverage specifics determine the need based on your home’s value, your “contents” percentages, the instrument’s new or used replacement value and type of insurance. It is best to discuss these variables with your insurance agent prior to deciding what type of appraisal is needed.